Immediately after giving birth, the pressure is on every woman to get her pre-pregnancy body back. New moms are advised to start losing the baby weight and get into shape, for example—not-so-subtle messaging that tells them their bodies are somehow less than.
This messaging is so prevalent that 90% of postpartum women say they've received comments about their bodies after they gave birth, according to a new survey from underwear company Knix. The survey also found that 76% of women reported feeling pressure to "bounce back" post-birth.
In response to this suffocating messaging, Knix has launched a photo exhibit featuring images of 250 postpartum women. Titled the Life After Birth Project, the exhibit is currently on display in New York City; it will move to Los Angeles, Toronto, and other cities this year. Many of the stunning photos on exhibit are also viewable on Instagram.
Rather than tear down women's bodies, the Life After Birth Project chooses to celebrate every stretch mark, surgical scar, and all of the other totally normal body changes that so many new moms are told to do something about.
The idea for the exhibit was inspired by Knix's founder, Joanna Griffiths, who gave birth in April. Soon after, she became frustrated by all the messages and images that promoted diets and workout programs for postpartum moms like herself. While she struggled to breastfeed her newborn, her social feeds were signaling that she should be working on her body instead.
“Griffiths wanted to share a new message: you are perfect as you, you are supported and you are seen,” a press release for the exhibit states.
The Life After Birth Project is on display in New York City at 27 Greene Street from August 22 through August 27. The exhibit moves to Toronto, at 630 Queen Street West, from September 17 through September 22. Then it goes to Los Angeles at 2236 South Barrington Avenue from October 24 through November 3.
The exhibit will also be featured in Austin, Dallas, Denver, Portland, Minneapolis, and Seattle, but dates in those cities have not yet been finalized.
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